The Ultimate Popping Cork Setup


What makes up the ultimate popping cork setup?

What sort of tackle and gear do you need to assemble the ideal popping cork outfit?

If you want to catch more fish on popping corks, then you need to check this out!!

Ultimate Popping Cork Setup [VIDEO]

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The most important tool included in the system is the fishing rod itself.

Popping corks are meant to suspend and float on the surface.

So when a fish pulls the cork underneath the surface of the water, the buoyant cork is trying to push its way back to the surface.

That means you need a rod with very Fast-Action.

I recommend the TFO Tactical Inshore Spinning Rod.

There is no loss in response time from the load up in the rod to the time it can take for the cork to come back up to the surface.

You need to provide enough force for the cork to get back to the surface and set the hook in the fish’s mouth.

The TFO Tactical Inshore rod that I use is a 7′ Medium-Fast Action Rod.

Keep in mind, that TFO Tactical rods are slightly heavier than most other inshore fishing rods but it is equipped with a super Fast-Action tip.

That is the difference maker when burying the hook in a fish’s mouth.

Simply put, other rods will not respond this way when you are trying to set the hook while fishing a popping cork.

If I was forced to only recommend one thing from this entire setup it would be the TFO Tactical Inshore Rod.

It goes without saying that having a strong connection to the fish is vital and you could only have one chance to get a clean hookset in a fish’s mouth.

You do not want to lose fish because of a mistake in gear selection.

I personally am a “Rod Snob” and used to have a completely custom rod outfitted for my popping cork trips.

But I have since traded that out for the TFO Tactical Inshore Rod.


Fish often strike a lure under a popping cork and immediately take off on a run.

It can be in your favor to use a reel that picks up line well, especially in the case the fish takes a run directly at you.

Daiwa’s BG MQ reels are absolute powerhouses and have a line pick-up speed of nearly 3 feet per turn.

If you want to add a premium reel to your popping cork setup, the Daiwa BG MQ hits all the marks.

I not only use it for popping cork setups but the BG MQ has become my everyday fishing reel.


unpopular popping cork hack

Popping corks are an extremely effective method for attracting curious fish over to check out your lure and strike.

Often overlooked is the right rod and reel combination that puts you in the best position to succeed.

Be sure to head over to our online tackle shop and pick up a TFO Tactical Inshore Rod while they’re still in stock!

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Do you have any more questions about the ultimate popping cork setup?

Let me know your thoughts down below!!

If you know someone who wants to learn more about the ultimate popping cork setup, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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8 months ago

I fish different ways kayak,wading pot holes,wading mud flats, fishing shore lines in a boat and casting from rocky shorelines where distance is a premium. Targeting redfish and trout and rare drum and flounder. Use lures top water spoons and worms. Also live bait croaker and mud minnows. My question is the length of the spinning rod 7 ft vs 7 1/2 foot. At times distance is paramount and other times not do I need 2 different rod lengths

Wyatt Parcel
8 months ago

Fantastic suggestions on the cork setup!! Thanks for this tip Matt!

Daniel Lincoln
8 months ago

Thank you Matt for responding to my question. I did see later that someone else had asked you about the same thing. I do have another question though. I’m looking for a new rod for kayak fishing and I’m trying to decide between the TFO Pro S and the TFO Tac. I see that the Tac has the exposed blank at the real seat. Is that a considerable advantage or are they both fairly equal? Just looking for your opinion. I think Luke is partial to the Pro. Also, what’s your thoughts between 7″ and 7.6″ for kayaks?

Daniel Lincoln
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt Lanier

Thanks for that information. My main target is trout and flounder and most of my fishing is around Grand Isle La. and the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. I tend to use soft plastics and if that isn’t working I’ll go to cut bait. Looks like I’ll probably end up ordering one of each.

devin sebile
8 months ago

I’ve been curious to kno how to retrieve paddle tails with a popping cork I’ve been limited to shrimp lures

Mark Ethridge
8 months ago

Matt, Would the PRO S in 7’6 M work just as well? I have two of them and really can’t afford to buy another rod for the arsenal right now.

Buzz Butters
8 months ago

Great instructional Matt! And thank you for using the correct terminology for action and power of a rod. Too often the “experts” get action and power turned around. Short, sweet, and informative. Great job Matt. Maybe an instructional segment on what is action, what is power, and the lack of industry standards for power ratings might be helpful to a lot of anglers. Buzz

Daniel Lincoln
9 months ago

Do you have a video explaining rod listings. Just watched a video of Mat using a TFO Tactical medium fast. When looking at the rods in your tackle store I found M MH ML. What would be the listing for the fast action?

Mark Henderson
9 months ago

Nothing more than a commercial for a rod and reel; not one word about how to use the set up to attract fish. I saw a paddle tail about 18” from the cork and that was about all I learned.

David Wamsley
9 months ago

Matt: good report as I use a popping cork as well with live/and or dead shrimp on a 3/0 hook. I put a split shot on the leader above the hook and the weight of the split shot depends on current.
I also use a “slip knot” UNDER the cork which allows me to vary the depth of the
hook presentation. It all depends on the depth that the fish are holding in.
The slip knot works great

Pam Walter
9 months ago

Hey Matt, How did you get that big knob on the Reel? I am 68 and have some arthritis in my hands and that would really help. Gonna order that entire set up today. Pam

Pam Walter
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Lanier

Thank you so much. I will check it out.


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